M-Net has officially opened applications for its Magic in Motion Academy class of 2016. Michael Bratt attended the event to find out more about how the year-long programme is helping, not only the interns who partake in it but also, the film and television industry and the South African economy as a whole.
This year saw the first class of the Magic in Motion Academy, a programme designed to connect recent university graduates with production houses. This in order to give them practical experience in film and television and in M-Net’s words, “bridge the gap from their studies into the professional world”.
The guest speaker at the event was deputy minister in the the Presidency, Buti Manamela. He stressed that M-Net’s Magic in Motion Academy is a great lesson in how an intern programme should work. He said it showed the rest of the private sector that an intern programme with support from government can be done.
“So many of our stories are being told from an outsider perspective as we don’t have the resources, not money but skills. This programme helps to tell our own story and empower and train young people to tell South African and African stories better,” Manamela said. South Africa needed more youngsters such as the 12 interns who were part of the Magic in Motion Academy class of 2015. In response to this, the class of 2016 will consist of 20 individuals.
One of the successes of the Academy seems to be the person that M-Net chose to oversee it, Bobby Heaney. As a television, film and stage producer and director, he has won over 30 best director and best production awards. Heaney says that when the first class of youngsters was being chosen, the main thing he looked for in each applicant was passion. He says that the aim of the course is to, in the space of just one year, give each intern 10 years of experience by placing them in as many production houses as possible.
Over the past year the youngsters interned in over 20 productions including Miss South Africa, Power Couple, Isibaya, Ashes to Ashes and Isidingo just to name a few. They also had interactive sessions with industry leaders who passed on their knowledge to the group. All this was made possible by Heaney who has a vast network of industry connections.
“I’m at the stage of my career where I don’t have to prove anything anymore, I want to give back. I can pick up the phone and call any production house and place the interns properly,” he explains.
Another aim of the programme is to give the youngsters a thorough, yet broad, overview of the industry and the various jobs it has to offer. “Most people only know director, producer and presenter. But there are so many more jobs in film and television,” says Heaney.
M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle says the programme will continue in 2016 as a result of the success of the class of 2015. The major accomplishment that the class saw was the production of two films for the Mzanzi Magic channel which will air in December. All the work on the films was done by the interns after only six months of learning and they did everything associated with the films. Phahle said the programme is needed “in order to grow the industry by creating a talent pool and give youngsters the opportunity.” She also says that the private sector must partner with government in order for programmes like Magic in Motion one to succeed. She closed her address with the words, “If Hollywood and Bollywood can do it then so can we!”
Manamela also touched on the importance of the South Africa film and television industry to the country’s economy. “Many local films have not been given the platform to succeed and to be seen by most South Africans. What this programme means for the young stars is they will now have an opportunity to compete with the best and win awards for the country,” he says.
Manamela is also chairing a task team set up by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the South African creative arts space. “The aim of the task team is to protect the intellectual property of SA artists, ensure they have a sustainable livelihood and ensure the SA film industry tells the African story,” he says.
Two of the interns from the class of 2015 also spoke at the event. Themba Twala described the programme as helpful, insightful and interesting and says the Academy has given him hope that one day he will be an industry leader. Palesa Rathebe says the programme offered, “One on one time with industry greats and that it was a priceless experience”.
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